‘I don’t want another parent standing in my shoes’: RVA mom reflects on son’s death by suicide

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following the death of fashion icon Kate Spade, a local mom shares her family’s story in hopes that others start talking about what she calls a “public health issue.” 

June 5th was a difficult day for most people hearing the news about Spade, but one Richmond mom says it was different. 

“I realized that they shared a death anniversary date. A suicide death anniversary date. It was just so surreal,” said Anne Moss Rogers. 

She sat down with 8News to talk about her son, Charles. 

“It’s the only way I can survive this loss,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “This death is a cause of death, and suicide is a public health issue.”

Charles was 20-years-old when he died. He was an aspiring rapper, and Charles’ lyrics revealed the pain he felt inside. Rogers found the notebooks filled with the songs after her son’s death, she had no idea he was suicidal.

“I wish I was better,

like I could be someone you deserve.

Wish I could show you your worth, 

But all I can use is words.

Such a beautiful girl,

Confused in an unusual world. ” 

– Charles Rogers

“You try not to punish yourself with the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. But even three years later, they sometimes enter your mind.,” she said. 

Charles had been depressed before. They tried to find him a psychologist to talk to, but it was too late.

“I think that’s when we started to lose him,” she said.

Charles turned to heroin to “self-medicate.” He had been through detox but walked out of treatment after relapsing. He was withdrawing from drugs when he died by suicide. 

“You just feel like you’re a lousy parent,” she said. “While you forgive yourself for that eventually, a piece of that will always remain.” 

Rogers came to realize the warning signs later and wants others to know too. She noticed Charles was always in the nurse’s office and was sick a lot. He became withdrawn from activities he used to love, like producing music and being involved with theater. Charles would show up unprepared for class and didn’t care as much about his studies. Charles would also talk about death.

Rogers says parents should listen more instead of lecturing to their kids, and also ask them questions about their plans and how they’re feeling. 

Since Charles’ death, Rogers has made it her focus to talk to others about how to cope, for them to know that they’re not alone. 

“Because I don’t want another parent standing in my shoes,” she said.

Rogers now runs the blog “Emotionally Naked,” something she started to cope with her loss. She’s also the president of the Beacon Tree Foundation

If you or a loved one needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. 

For a list of local hotlines, click here for a list of resources from “Emotionally Naked.” 

Other resources:
Suicide Prevention Resource Center 
– J Group Counseling Services 

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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